Hernando PD and Local Church Leaders Meet

Hernando, MS

By: Steve Dodd

Longview Point Baptist Church was the site of the first meeting between the Hernando Police Department administration and Hernando clergy members. The meeting was held this past Monday night.

“The Hernando Police Department asked if we would host the meeting and we gladly accepted, “said Jason Ford, Missions Pastor at Longview Point Baptist Church.

Representing the Hernando Police Department were Chief Scott Worsham, Assistant Chief Shane Ellis, Captain Charles Lamphere, Patrol Division, Captain Kyle Hodge, Operations and Sargent Jack Kotter, Public Relations, Training and Accreditation.
Chief Worsham stated “We are all here for the same goal and that is to make Hernando better. I hope we can come together as church leaders and police to sit down and discuss issues as a group or individual churches. We meet with community groups and businesses. I want to expand meeting with churches and religious organizations.”

It was mentioned that Memphis has one of the worst crime rates in the country and although Hernando is near Memphis, its crime rate is very low.
Asst. Chief Ellis said he remembers when Hernando had one traffic light and Commerce Street was a two lane road. He has seen many changes in his 22 year service with the department. Among those changes are the number of calls the officers answered. In 2010, there were approximately 7,000 calls answered. Six years later, that number grew to approximately 19,000. The number of calls almost tripled but were handled by the same number of officers as there were in 2010. Although the department has added five additional officers, they are expecting major growth in the Hernando area. The department currently has 30 officers supporting over 14, 000 citizens.

“We have to get back to where we know our neighbors and watch out for each other. Don’t be afraid to call us if you see something. Tell your church members to keep watch and to call us,” said Asst. Chief Ellis.

Capt. Lamphere focused on burglaries in the area. During 2016, there were 20 residential, 60 auto and 32 commercial and / or storage building burglaries reported. “Residential burglaries occur primarily in the afternoon hours where the automobile and commercial burglaries occur at night,” he said. He said that most of the auto burglaries do not involve broken glass. Thieves will walk through a neighborhood and pull on the door handles until they find an unlocked vehicle. Capt. Lamphere stressed the importance of locking your vehicle and your home.

Chief Worsham was asked what his thoughts were on churches establishing security teams. He responded, “I am a third generation law enforcement officer and I never dreamed that churches would need security teams. I think it is a good idea. We can come to the church to give training in general and work with the security team. I also don’t have a problem with armed security teams if trained properly.”

Another question concerned the needs of the police department and what the churches could do to help. Chief Worsham advised they do have things they need but must live within the budget. He said there are things that local groups can donate. For example, The Krewe of Hernando donated stop sticks used to stop fleeing vehicles. The stop sticks proved to be very beneficial to the department. Chief Worsham said he would gladly compile a list of things local groups could donate.

This was the first meeting of what Chief Worsham hopes to be an ongoing event. “This is about what we can do to grow the community and to make it better and safer. There aren’t enough meetings like this going on. I’m not satisfied with the status quo. We are all in this together. I’d like to continue meeting and if we just get together to socialize and pray, I’m good with that,” said Chief Worsham.

The Hernando Police Department will schedule additional meetings in the future and will reach out to more churches and religious organizations to expand the outreach.

As citizens, we can do two things that will help the officers who put their lives on the line each day. One is to simply thank an officer for what they do each time you see them. Second and most important is to pray for the officer and his or her family.